Bureaucracy is an organisation structure with many levels of authority and a rigid hierarchy, regulated by set rules and procedures held together by a central administration.
Ironically according to many sociologists, such as Max Weber (1864 - 1924), the development of bureaucratic organisation is necessary for the emergence of any modern civilization. Weber believed that bureaucracy was the most appropriate administrative system for the rational pursuit of organisational goals. Weber identified the following characteristics of a bureaucracy:
- A high degree of specialisation
- A hierarchy with well defined levels of authority
- A system with formal rules and procedures
- Written records of decisions made
- Authority resting with the office or position in the hierarchy rather than with the individual
Like many concepts, bureaucracy was appropriate at the time when organisations were small. As large scale businesses developed the application of bureaucratic principles began to get in the way of the efficient operation, slowing decision making and creating considerable 'red-tape'. The response to this perceived inefficiency, from the 1980s onwards, was to reduce the bureaucratic nature of an organisation by delayering and downsizing.
Bureaucracy is a giant mechanism operated by pygmies.
Honoré de Balzac
Which of the following is NOT a way of ensuring maximum effectiveness of delegation?